Subsuns and rainbows during solar eclipses

Gunther P. Können, Glenn Schneider, Evan H. Zucker, Panu Lahtinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A photographic observation sequence was obtained of a subsun before, during, and after the total phase of the 2016 solar eclipse. The time-resolved images were obtained from a high-altitude jet aircraft. The image sequence was searched for the possible presence of a solar corona-generated subsun during totality. Although the subsun-creating conditions apparently persisted during totality, the drop in signal intensity compared to the local background prevented its detection. Separately, we document a visual observation from the 1977 total solar eclipse of a rainbow that faded, in the last a few seconds before totality, from being normally multicolored to monochromatic red from water drops then predominantly illuminated by light from the solar chromosphere. A similar transition in the final seconds before, and after, totality is expected to occur for parhelia. The posited short-living monochromatic red parhelion resulting from the momentary illumination of ice crystals by the solar chromosphere is still waiting to be observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F1-F10
JournalApplied optics
Issue number21
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Subsuns and rainbows during solar eclipses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this